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Proclamation 6471—Commodore John Barry Day, 1992

September 12, 1992

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

The members of the United States Navy continue a long and distinguished tradition of service to our country that began more than 200 years ago during our Nation's War for Independence, when a small yet tenacious American fleet achieved several key victories against powerful British forces. Those victories were made possible, in large part, by the extraordinary courage and seamanship of leaders such as Commodore John Barry, whose legacy we celebrate today.

As one of the first and most successful captains of the Continental Navy, John Barry set standards of bravery and selflessness that generations of U.S. naval personnel have since strived to emulate. Under his command in April 1776, the crew of the brig LEXINGTON achieved the first capture in battle of a British vessel by a regularly commissioned American warship. Captain Barry continued to serve with distinction throughout the long war at sea, tgaking part in the last American naval victory of the Revolution when he led the frigate ALLIANCE against the HMS SYBILLE in March 1783. During that 7-year period, which included action as an Army artillery officer at the Battle of Trentor, Captain Barry earned the respect of General George Washington, who commended his "gallantry and address." Ironically, perhaps, Captain Barry also earned the admiration of the enemy, which, through General Lord Howe, sought to entice the Irish-born Barry away from the American cause. Captain Barry erased any doubts about his patriotism and devotion to freedom when he rebuked Howe's ofer, declaring: "Not the value and command of the whole British fleet can lure me from the cause of my country."

So devoted to our country's cause was Captain Barry that he continued to champion the ideals of freedom and democracy long after the end of the Revolutionary War. Active in Pennsylvania politics, he became a strong advocate of our Constitution, which was ratified by the State Assembly on December 12, 1787. In 1794, President George Washington personnaly conferred upon Captain Barry "Commission No. 1," entrusting him with the command of the new frigate USS UNITED STATES, one of six that were built as part of a permanent American naval armament. Until his death on September 13, 1803, Commodore Barry continued to shape the young United States Navy.

The Congress, by House Joint Resolution 413, has designated Sunday, September 13, 1992, as "Commodore John Barry Day" and has requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this day.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 13, 1992, as Commodore John Barry Day. I invite all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities in honor of the courageous individuals, past and president, who have serve in the United States Navy.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twelefth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventeenth.

Signature of George Bush


George Bush, Proclamation 6471—Commodore John Barry Day, 1992 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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